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2014 Copen Robe Test Drive Impressions

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by archiebald, Nov 17, 2014.

  1. archiebald

    archiebald Copenworld Newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2014
    Location:
    Nagano, Japan
    Car(s):
    Nissan Landy
    Suzuki Swift Sport
    Hi,
    Just thought I would post an update on our potential new purchase. Lucky for us we are living in Japan and local dealers have demonstrators available. We are hoping to order in January and take delivery at the end of March so we are at the stage of making sure this is really what we want. This car would be mainly for my wife's use to replace her 2005 Suzuki Swift Sport, but I would hope to get my share of driving time too!! :D

    I have had Kei cars before including a Suzuki Cappuccino and Suzuki Alto Works, so I knew roughly what to expect. The main things I was interested in were the ride quality, internal space, body rigidity and the gearbox variations.

    Manual
    Last weekend we test drove the manual version. Very nice performance with a good little gearbox. I am 181cm (6 feet) tall and the driving position was just okay for me with the seat fully back. Legroom limits meant I was not quite able to get my left leg fully straight when on the footrest but I could still be comfortable with it. Headroom was good with about 5-7cm above my head. The ride was firm but pleasant and never felt jarring, seems that they have the shocks and springs balanced nicely. Actually I would rate it a little better than my wife's current Suzuki Swift Sport for overall ride comfort.

    Acceleration up a nearby hill up to around 105km/h gave the impression of being almost as good as the Swift. I think this was due to two facts - the Swift weighs in at around 1,200kg and 123bhp giving 102.5 bhp/ton with the Copen at 850kg (manual) and 64bhp giving 75bhp/ton, plus the smaller and lower Copen gives a much stronger impression of speed. Anyhow, the result feels similar, even if a stopwatch would tell you something different.

    With the roof down and windows up, there is some breeze at cruising speed but nothing unpleasant, the rear wind deflector seems to do a good job. The sun visors can also be turned upwards to create a wind deflector and this improved things even more. It was a chilly day and the heater did a good job in the open cockpit. I was also impressed by the seat heaters, although they only have one setting they were comfortable and the one in the seat back was especially good at keeping your body core and kidneys warm.

    Now, the best part for me was the almost imperceptible scuttle shake over bumps and ripples. My old Cappuccino used to suffer quite badly from it but the Copen Robe really impressed me on this point. There is a little, but it is almost nothing and never becomes obtrusive. The factory has done a very good job with body stiffness on this car.

    Automatic
    A week later, we managed to test drive the automatic version - I know that most people would be offended by the notion of an automatic Copen but we are no longer young hooligans, and enjoy cruising a bit more than sporty driving so we thought we would give a chance. Sitting in the driver's seat, the first thing I noticed was a little better legroom for my left leg. With the clutch out of the way it seems that the footrest is set a little deeper and it made the sitting position marginally more comfortable for me.

    Well, I have to say that I was very much impressed with the gearbox. In full auto, the car seemed to accelerate as well as the manual and the 7 speed CVT box seems absolutely seamless. By that I mean I booted it from standstill up to around 100km/h and the engine revs just came up and stayed virtually identical as the car accelerated almost turbine like. There was no noticeable gear change or change in engine note occurring at any point.

    The auto version has better quoted fuel consumption over the manual. Now I know that it is fitted with idle stop (which works well in an unobtrusive way), but I guess that some of the benefit is also coming from the fact that the engine can be held at constant, most efficient rpm while accelerating.

    Shifting to sport mode puts the gearbox into a 5 speed selectable mode. Initially it seems to just hold the current gear so you can use it as engine braking, but you can also select up or down through the gearbox. This is the first time I have ever driven this type of gearbox so I cannot comment on how it compares, but to me the changes were slick with barely noticeable delay between command and change occurring. The gearbox will not allow you to change into any unacceptable gear for the current driving speed but other than that it seems that you make the choice and it follows your command. For example, in 4th gear at around 60km/h I mashed the throttle hard to see if I could induce kick-down, but it stayed where it was in the selected gear. In the same way, lifting the throttle results in pretty solid engine braking so it would appear that the CVT is locked up in manual mode. This gives a good measure of throttle control for balancing through the corners. I've got to say I was very much impressed.

    My wife then drove the car and has fallen in love with the gearbox. As for me, I can honestly say could find nothing wrong with it at all. It may not be for everyone but I would certainly recommend anyone to give it a test drive before poo-pooing the idea of an automatic Copen - you might be pleasantly surprised.

    General
    Just to finish off, I passengered in the Auto Copen but not in the Manual version. I did notice that for me, there is a considerable loss of leg room on the passenger side of the auto compared to the driver's side. There is something down there which results in a large and bulky panel intruding into the end of the foot well that makes it feel similar to sitting in the driver's seat with your feet just resting on the brake pedal. I am not sure if this is something unique to the auto version or is on both. We are hoping to test drive the manual again this coming weekend so I will check this out. It wasn't a problem for my wife as a passenger being only 163cm (5ft 4in) tall but I would find it uncomfortable on anything other than a short journey. However, when we are both together, I normally do most of the driving so this wouldn't be so much of a problem.

    Internally, there is virtually no storage space (compared to what we are used to), but what can you expect.

    Finally, I have no experience of the Mk.1 Copen but the trunk space in the Robe is worth talking about. Obviously, 80% of it is taken up by the roof when folded, but there is still some usable space right at the back of the car as long as you put the roof up before trying to put bags in and out. But with the roof up, the space is really enormous for a car of this size, certainly bigger and more usable that the Swift.

    So, we are still very positive to buy a new Copen Robe, just need to test the manual version once more with my wife driving before we make a final decision.
     
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  2. DaG

    DaG Copenworld Guru

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2012
    Location:
    Sunderland
    Car(s):
    Copen 1.3
    Nice review but I don't think we'll see many of the new copens in the UK.
    Its a shame really because they are priced quite well in Japan. I was looking at adverts for the new car and they were less expensive than second hand original copens.
    If you do buy a Robe take some pics and put them on here. Then we can all be jealous.:)
     
  3. JulesAtCumbria

    JulesAtCumbria Copenworld Regular

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2013
    Location:
    Cumbria, UK
    Car(s):
    2009 (59) Copen
    Thanks Archiebald - I really enjoyed that. We've all watched with fascination as the the new Copen has gone through its gestation and now that it's actually here it's brill to get a feel of what it's like through reviews like yours.

    I think that one of the things that Mk1 owners really love about their car is the superb handling - it's so pointy and, as many members attest to, the smile is fixed happily in place while at the wheel. I hope that they've kept that key ingredient in the replacement.

    Watching one of the many YouTube videos, I noted just how much of this new car is little changed from its predecessor. The exterior styling - I'm still not 100% sure, but it's certainly different. Mind you, as DaG says, we're unlikely to see many (if any) of the new versions here in the UK, but if Honda releases its stonking S660 here, I shall be sorely tempted to defect. Now that IS a looker!

    [​IMG]
    S660 02 by JulesAtCumbria, on Flickr

    [​IMG]
    S660 01 by JulesAtCumbria, on Flickr
     
  4. dsb

    dsb Copenworld Regular

    Joined:
    May 15, 2013
    Location:
    abingdon oxfordshire
    Car(s):
    copen vivid
    the other thing that sounds good about the new copen is if bits of it start to rust you can put some new ones on!
     
  5. archiebald

    archiebald Copenworld Newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2014
    Location:
    Nagano, Japan
    Car(s):
    Nissan Landy
    Suzuki Swift Sport
    Just a brief update, we again test drove a manual version of the Copen Robe at the weekend with my wife doing most of the driving.

    I can confirm that performance wise there is nothing that I can detect between them, the auto in sport mode might even be slightly quicker in real life terms because the gear change during acceleration is virtually seamless.

    Space in the passenger footwell is identical with the auto and in the driver's footwell there is a definite advantage in the auto, it is much more roomy for the left foot when cruising.

    The auto has the advantage on fuel economy which may or may not be due to the idling stop feature. Here in Japan they haven't yet heard about roundabouts, or intelligent traffic signals so you need to be patient waiting at incessant red lights while there is nothing coming the other way. In these conditions, idling stop gains more advantage.

    The auto also puts out less CO2 and it might be due to this that there are a couple of tax breaks on the price list of the auto version.

    All in all, we have decided that we will go for the auto gearbox, hopefully placing the order around 3rd January for delivery mid to late March.

    Will keep you posted.
     
  6. Your Majesty

    Your Majesty Copenworld Regular

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2013
    Location:
    West Midlands
    Car(s):
    Copen, no other car.
    Nice to read your impressions of the new Copen Mr Archie.
    As for the Honda, it doesn't have the folding roof (it's a Targa top) so loses out massively IMHO.
     
  7. DaG

    DaG Copenworld Guru

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2012
    Location:
    Sunderland
    Car(s):
    Copen 1.3
    I think the panels are plastic so rust shouldn't be a problem.
    I've seen the videos of the panels being changed, so if you have a red car and fancy green just fit a set of green panels. I did wonder how much these panels would cost and whether changing the colour of your car without informing the dvla and getting a new V5 every time you did it would be a problem.
     
  8. archiebald

    archiebald Copenworld Newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2014
    Location:
    Nagano, Japan
    Car(s):
    Nissan Landy
    Suzuki Swift Sport
    I can confirm that the panels are plastic. I think I read somewhere that the panel set is estimated to be JPY350,000 which is about GBP1,850 at current exchange rates. Note that the doors are not included in this - they are metal skinned (I can confirm) possibly related to durability and crash protection(?).
    https://copen.jp/product/dress
    I don't expect that price to include the lights and other exterior fittings

    By the way, the X-play variant is already available.
    https://copen.jp/product/xplay
    Personally I don't like it, but I am sure it will have many enthusiasts. The X-Play is not possible to convert to the Robe and vice-versa due to body lines through the doors.

    I think the idea is not so much to change colors, but the entire front and rear end could be restyled. Take a look at this version that is apparently expected to be available in 2015 for those people that still love the original shape. Note the door line is still the 2014 shape.
    http://response.jp/article/2014/06/19/225791.html
    http://car.watch.impress.co.jp/img/car/docs/654/291/html/18.jpg.html
    Also lots of ideas here;
    http://autoc-one.jp/daihatsu/copen/special-1844057/photo/0029.html

    I guess Daihatsu will be able to market many other limited editions shapes without having to re-tool the entire production line, just bung a new set of molds in the injection machine for the panels. It is a fascinating manufacturing concept, not only for personal customization but also for reducing manufacturing costs.

    Think about it, when you order your new car, not only can you choose engines, gearboxes, interior color and spec levels but you can also specify which body shape you want from the factory options list. Brilliant piece of marketing.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2014
  9. archiebald

    archiebald Copenworld Newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2014
    Location:
    Nagano, Japan
    Car(s):
    Nissan Landy
    Suzuki Swift Sport
    Just an update, we will be going to the dealer in a couple of days to place the order. Money is sitting in the bank and we've worked out the exact spec and options we will be purchasing.

    Luckily, about 10 days ago, the Copen Robe S was announced and we have decided to go for it. Recaro seats, uprated (Bilstein) shocks, Momo steering wheel with paddle shift for the auto version, and a few other minor cosmetic additions.
    https://copen.jp/product/robe/s-type (scroll down)

    We are not going for the BBS wheels, I prefer to shop around for something a bit more special.

    As for color, my wife's Swift is yellow, we used to have a red Cappuccino, and my current car is blue so we have opted for the metallic orange. It looks nice in the flesh with the black roof and chrome trimmings.

    Total price, on the road with all taxes and 3 years basic insurance is JPY2,600,000 (a shade under GBP14,000 at current exchange rate). This includes a full combined navigation / audio / video system that is JPY290,000 (GBP1,500) by itself. Might be able to squeeze a little discount off that, but not much normally in Japan.

    We are aiming for mid-March delivery toward the end of winter so we don't need to purchase studless (snow) tyres until the autumn.

    I have already selected floor mats (black with orange edging) and a rear diffuser panel from a third party http://item.rakuten.co.jp/k-jmode/d310p/ , plus the smart roof system to give one touch and remote roof operation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnpkEpqNQUY . Also going to install a roof check canceller system that allows the roof to be deployed while moving at up to 30km/h http://cepinc.jp/chumon/copen/la400_copen_speedroof_kit_info.html .

    This company does some tasty made-to-order seat covers but not yet for the Copen S Recaro seats, but I will be looking their direction in a few months. http://www.y-brand.com/copen/
     
  10. DaG

    DaG Copenworld Guru

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2012
    Location:
    Sunderland
    Car(s):
    Copen 1.3
    The X play looks a bit like a kit car I prefer the Robe version.
    I really do hope that Daihatsu return to the UK, I reckon the new Copen would sell well. I wonder how much it would cost to import one? The beauty of buying from Japan is the right hand side steering wheel.
     
  11. threepot

    threepot Copenworld Regular

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2014
    Car(s):
    Copen, Hijet, Celica, and Yaris!
    You could import a new copen no problem.

    So now its on your drive, and no v5c or plates.

    The next problem you have is when you try to register your import that is less than 10 years old you require a certificate of conformity.

    Daihatsu have withdrawn from Europe mostly due to the European Type approval scheme - their vehicle do not meet the full criteria, nor do they want them to.

    I know that other people have not been able to get COC's for their late model Daihatsu imports, and have them sitting in their garage waiting to be over 10 years old - then they do not need a COC.
     
  12. Sparky

    Sparky Copenworld Newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2014
    Location:
    North Wales, UK
    Car(s):
    Nissan Qashqai.
    Hyundai I40.
    Daihatsu Copen 1.3
    Now that is interesting I never knew any of that.
     
  13. archiebald

    archiebald Copenworld Newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2014
    Location:
    Nagano, Japan
    Car(s):
    Nissan Landy
    Suzuki Swift Sport
    Well, the deal was struck earlier today, due for delivery on 14th March. We could have had it earlier but it is the middle of winter.

    65 days to go!!

    Also ordered the floor and boot mat today.

    We took the option of a 3 year servicing deal, cost GBP500 up front, but it means that all routine servicing for the first three years is now prepaid and we save about GBP300 over the period doing it this way. (I am way too old to be doing my own servicing nowadays)
    The discount we got basically paid for that anyhow.

    I normally never consider extended warranty deals but at GBP42 for an additional two years, sounds a bargain not to be missed.

    Now looking for some tarty wheels for it. I like the look of the OZ X Line Adrenalina. http://www.oz-japan.com/products/x_line/Adrenalina/
    We will put the summer tyres on these wheels, then put the winter tyres (to be purchased in the autumn) onto the original wheels.
     
  14. DaG

    DaG Copenworld Guru

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2012
    Location:
    Sunderland
    Car(s):
    Copen 1.3
    Those wheels look good and I like your idea of only using them in the summer and keeping the original wheels for winter use. Do you get much salt on the roads over there?
    I think you'll be the first copenworld member with the new car. I can't remember any other saying they had the Robe.
     
  15. archiebald

    archiebald Copenworld Newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2014
    Location:
    Nagano, Japan
    Car(s):
    Nissan Landy
    Suzuki Swift Sport
    Hi DaG,
    I am living in Nagano, a mountainous area with fairly predictable snow throughout the winter, so having a second set of wheels with studless snow tyres mounted is the norm here. Original maker's wheels are not so exciting but the quality tends to be very durable so preferable for the winter. We normally swap them over on1st December and 1st April or thereabouts.

    Here is a picture of a Mk1 Copen on the OZ Adrenilina wheels. http://www.oz-japan.com/images/products/x_line/Adrenalina/Copen2_Adrenalina.jpg
    And a Copen Robe here - http://ameblo.jp/ozj/entry-11889229320.html

    We are the ones laughing when the Tokyo-ites drive up here in the winter to the ski-grounds with their standard tyres then end up grovelling in the snow putting their tyre chains on in the slush at the side of the road.

    The climate here is cold but very dry in the winter so we generally either get compacted snow, or dry roads. Studless tyres on cold compacted snow are really amazing for grip, no worse than driving down a dry dirt track. It is very rare to hear of black ice and as a result, they never used to bother with salt until about 5 years ago but unfortunately now they started, especially on bus routes.

    The mountains are very beautiful here for cruising through in the summer, almost like the Swiss Alps in places with twisting roads. Nine of the twelve highest mountains in Japan can be found in this prefecture. I used to love driving my Cappuccino round here and can't wait to do the same in the Robe. Do a Google image search for Nagano ken mountains and you'll get the picture.

    This road is about 10 minutes from my house, climbs from 700m to 2,000m asl. http://goo.gl/maps/3yyJw We really are spoilt, I know!!! Not sure if this will work, but this is one of the tighter corners in street view - note the rubber on the roads. http://goo.gl/maps/FPVlc Remember, this is where the Gran Turismo game was born.


    Bad news is that June is the rainy season and July and August are often too hot to get the roof down, so a convertible tends to be a spring and autumn car.

    sits tapping fingers on desk waiting for the days to count down......tap...tap...tappity...tap. 59 days :D
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2015
  16. archiebald

    archiebald Copenworld Newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2014
    Location:
    Nagano, Japan
    Car(s):
    Nissan Landy
    Suzuki Swift Sport
    I apologize in advance for being boring!! I need to tell someone!

    Just had an email confirming the floormat and bootmat, custom made black with orange edging. They are busy so delivery is 30 days, but that suits us fine.

    Also, today I ordered 3 electrical kits, these were all purchased from CEPINC who have a page on Rakuten. Rakuten is a company in Japan a bit like Amazon, they started to sell globally too but the English translations are very ropey. I already mentioned these earlier in this thread but here is the description plus the English page on Rakuten in case anyone has an interest;

    Variable color footlight kits for the foot wells, the color is selectable or random and it dims when you move out of Park, brightens when you enter, has delay etc. This is a pretty generic kit that can be adapted to fit almost any car. Also much cheaper than the Daihatsu version and has more modes.
    http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/cepinc/item/ill003/?s-id=borderless_browsehist_en

    Roof inhibit canceller kit to allow the roof to be opened closed with the car in motion (below 30km/h)
    http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/cepinc/item/co4191/?s-id=borderless_browsehist_en

    Remote control / one touch roof control kit (Smart Roof) - as it says in the title, use the remote key to open / close and converts the switch operation to one touch, instead of having to hold it for 20 seconds.
    http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/cepinc/item/co4201/?s-id=borderless_browsehist_en

    These are all specifically for the new Robe (LA400K) but I imagine could also work with the previous model (LA880K)

    Just for reference, here is the Rakuten Japanese page. http://item.rakuten.co.jp/cepinc/c/0000000615/

    Another item I recently received was a handy little DVD covering aspects of how to dismantle various parts such as dashboard, consoles, lamp assemblies bumpers etc. Also came with some plastic panel removal tools. Should save a lot of swewaing and crushed knuckles when I start fitting the kits.
    http://www.amazon.co.jp/オールインワン-ハンディリムーバー-工具セット【little-Monster】-DAIHATSU/dp/B00NNRPP20/ref=pd_cp_d_0

    Here is a sampler on YouTube, Japanese of course but not difficult to understand. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfzquu1Rlus
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2015
  17. archiebald

    archiebald Copenworld Newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2014
    Location:
    Nagano, Japan
    Car(s):
    Nissan Landy
    Suzuki Swift Sport
    T minus 48 days...
    We already ordered and recieved the floor & boot mat from Y-brand, also the smart roof controller, speed canceller and LED footlight kits fom CEPINC, now just ordered a rear diffuser panel from J-mode in Japan which looks much nicer than the Daihatsu option.
    http://item.rakuten.co.jp/k-jmode/d310p/

    OZ adrenalina wheels should be ordered in the next two weeks, appearance on the car should be similar to this (minus the aero parts)
    http://item.rakuten.co.jp/k-jmode/d310p/tp://www.esqueleto.jp/esqueletostyle/ESQ_aeroCOPENRobe.html

    Only problem, I will be off on a 2-3 week business trip a few days after we pick it up. Just hope that wifey doesn't wreck it while I am away. :-((
     
  18. ClareL

    ClareL Copenworld Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2013
    Location:
    Essex
    Car(s):
    1.3 2008 Copen
    That is just not fair :mad: your wife will have to send you photos and daily updates!
     
  19. archiebald

    archiebald Copenworld Newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2014
    Location:
    Nagano, Japan
    Car(s):
    Nissan Landy
    Suzuki Swift Sport
    Nails are starting to get nibbled now... Just 15 days left to go!!

    We ordered and received the OZ Adrenalina wheels last week. Cost JPY74,000 delivered (about GBP390). If all goes well, we plan to have them switched over the day after we pick up the new little beastie, then we'll put the stock wheels in the shed until it is time to buy a set of winter tyres.

    I also ordered and received a pair of back illumination plates for the front and rear number plates. Should look something like the attached piccies when fitted. For these to work, you also have to obtain the correct type of plate (issued by the government) but the dealer has sorted all that out for us and will fit the illuminated plates before delivery, even though they are not a Daihatsu part.

    The only part of the license number you can attempt to specify in Japan are the four numerical digits. We have opted for 19-99 being the year our daughter was born. In Asia, 8 is a lucky number so lots of them are chosen but 4 is a number associated with death because one of its pronunciations "shi" means death.
    I nearly choked laughing one day a few weeks ago because I saw a Hearse driving along with the license plate 44-44.

    Now we have the eternal problem looming up of choosing a name for him / her. Due to the wheels I was thinking of "Wizard", "Wizzie" or "Ozzie", or possibly "Robbie" (from Robe). My wife, with no imagination whatsoever suggested....drumroll.... "the car" :rolleyes:
     

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    Last edited: Feb 27, 2015
  20. Sharplady

    Sharplady Copenworld Newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2015
    Location:
    Edinburgh
    Car(s):
    Copen
    You are SO lucky! Although - I must be dreaming I realise but I could have sworn you said the new car was for your wife... ;)
     
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